The five-door T-Cross is VW’s latest SUV and is available in four generously equipped trim levels. Despite its compact dimensions, the T-Cross is very big on style and has a deceptively spacious cabin with room for four adults to travel comfortably. It drives beautifully and is packed with techno treats.
The goodDesign, styling, handling and practicality
The badToo much hard plastic
VW T-Cross – First Drive (2019)
Volkswagen has just added a little extra spice to the compact SUV sector with the launch of the all-new T-Cross which is small in stature, but big on style, practicality, performance and all-round appeal.
The five-door model, priced from £16,995 to £25,055, follows hot on the heels of the recently launched T-Roc and customers can choose from richly equipped trim levels called S, SE, SEL and R-Line.
At launch there is just one powertrain available – a punchy three-cylinder, 1.0-litre turbo petrol engine with outputs of 95PS and 115PS. The 95PS unit can be paired to a five-speed manual gearbox in S or SE trims, while the 115PS powertrain is available on SE grade and above and can be matched to either a six-speed manual or a seven-speed DSG automatic transmission. VW has hinted at the possibility of introducing a diesel-powered T-Cross a little later down the line, but has not confirmed a date at this point.
The front-wheel-drive T-Cross sits on the VW Group’s MQB (Modular Transverse Matrix) platform so shares many features and lots of its technology with the likes of the new Polo, Passat, Touran, Tiguan and Tiguan Allspace.
And when it comes to styling, the T-Cross is an instant charmer that’s guaranteed to turn heads thanks to its upright stance, tinted windows, body-coloured mirrors and door handles and a three-striped grille with a chrome bar running though the middle that joins the LED daytime running lights. The tailgate has an integrated rear spoiler and there is a full width reflector bar to accentuate the width of the car. Customers can select from a good choice of colours along with 16, 17 or 18-inch alloys.
Move inside and the interior is clutter-free and very modern in its layout and design yet it’s packed with techno treats. There is an eight-inch colour touchscreen and all models above entry-level S trim come equipped with Car-Net App Connect, which combines the functionality of Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and MirrorLink allowing mirroring of a smartphone display on the infotainment screen, via a USB connection. At SE spec and above, the car is equipped with four USB charge points – two in the front of the car, and two in the rear.
The inside of the T-Cross is deceptively spacious and despite being billed as a compact SUV, there is ample room for two six footers to sit one behind the other. A sliding rear bench is a clever feature that frees up extra rear legroom or boot space depending on requirements. And the boot is also well sized for its class with a capacity of 385 or 455 litres, subject to the rear bench position, increasing to 1,281 litres with the 60:40 split-folding rear seats dropped flat.
VW is confident the most popular model will be the T-Cross SE 1.0 115PS six-speed manual version so we tested that car on a range of roads and it lived up to all the hype and big build up. Priced at £19,555 (£22,720 with options), it could sprint to 62mph from a standing start in 10.2 seconds, maxing out at 120mph, while delivering a combined 48.3mpg (WLTP) and carbon emissions of 112g/km.
The lively three-pot engine produced all the power and acceleration required and there was always enough zip to overtake any slower moving vehicles. The T-Cross was poised and well balanced out on the fast moving country lanes where the road holding was confident and assured, and any body movement into tight bends was kept to a minimum.
Another plus point is how beautifully refined and quiet the car is. Even with the radio turned off, barely a hint of road surface, engine or wind sound filters through to the cabin.
Then in the bustling town centres with cars, cyclists and pedestrians darting out from all angles, the T-Cross was agile and easy to manoeuvre with the light steering proving beneficial for lots of twists and turns.
The interior of our bright coloured test car featured stylish upholstery with comfortable seats sporting a neat orange, grey and cream colour scheme. There was also a snazzy and very distinctive orange and grey dashboard decor that looked amazing on first impressions. But as the time in the car increased, the swirls and stripes became a bit too much. There are calming designs available which look more traditional, but may prove the best option over time. The other slight downside of the T-Cross was the amount of hard plastic within the cabin that rather lowers the tone.
Next on test was the all-singing, all-dancing, range-topping R-Line version complete with seven-speed DSG automatic gearbox. It’s more expensive costing £25,055 (£26,735 with options) and has slightly lower fuel economy with a combined 45.6mpg but it’s an absolute delight to drive.
The automatic gearbox is perfectly timed with steering wheel-mounted paddles for extra control and once again the T-Cross was happy firing through the country lanes or pottering around town.
As one would expect from VW, the car is packed with safety features and driver aids making the T-Cross a fabulous newcomer to the ever-growing compact SUV sector and it’s certainly worth a closer look.